TradingTwist, Washington, January 7 – Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, experienced yet another humiliating loss when he was denied the position of speaker of the US House of Representatives by a single vote late on Friday, prolonging the worst level of governmental dysfunction in more than 160 years.
McCarthy’s 216 votes were just short of the required number for a victory, marking his 14th defeat of the week. This was due to a tiny group of right-wing hardliners who refused to back down despite his promises of expenditure cutbacks and other concessions that had won over many of his colleagues.
After a number of staunch holdouts withheld their votes in a procedural manoeuvre that would increase McCarthy’s percentage of the yes or no votes cast, he appeared to win in a 15th vote after midnight. Voting was still going on.
He had scheduled an hours-long break for the chamber, with MPs returning at 10 p.m. (0300 GMT Saturday) for a second round of voting in the hopes of garnering enough support to win.
Hardline Representative Matt Gaetz delayed his vote in favor of McCarthy, which proved to be the turning point. Members of the party leadership surrounded the Florida Republican for a while, pleading with him to reconsider before conceding defeat.
Rep. Mike Rogers charged at Gaetz, sparking a brief altercation. A colleague grabbed Rogers and held him back.
After a week of back-to-back votes that exposed Republican differences and called into doubt their capacity to rule, the outcome left the US House without direction. Since 1859, the chamber has not experienced such high levels of Congressional dysfunction.
ONE MORE TIME
It was unclear what would happen if McCarthy failed once more as lawmakers prepared for the anticipated 15th vote, setting the stage for a session to last far beyond midnight.
Another prospective leader might be chosen by the caucus, such as Steve Scalise, McCarthy’s running mate, or Jim Jordan, a well-liked conservative who has received numerous nominations from hardliners this week.
The Republicans’ small 222-212 majority following their less successful than anticipated performance in the midterm elections in November has given the right-wing hardliners who oppose McCarthy’s leadership excessive authority.
President Joe Biden and his Democrats, who also have control of the Senate, charge him with being too willing to reach a compromise. Some people claim they want a leader who is willing to compel government shutdowns in order to reduce spending.
That increases the likelihood that the two parties won’t be able to agree when the federal government approaches its $31.4 trillion debt ceiling this year. A default that would jolt the world economy is possible in the event of a disagreement or even a protracted confrontation.
Republicans in the ranks were astounded at the action
Representative Vern Buchanan remarked, “People thought there was a commitment to do it, or they wouldn’t have done it tonight.”
Over the past four days, McCarthy has made a variety of concessions to the hardliners that would diminish his influence as a speaker and, in turn, make it simpler for them to compel the drastic expenditure cutbacks they demand.
One of those who had fought McCarthy for the majority of the week, Representative Ralph Norman, observed, “We got the things that I think are transformational.”
It was unclear what McCarthy could do to convince the six lone holdouts if anything at all.
The unsuccessful vote occurred on January 6, 2021, two years after a violent mob invaded the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn Donald Trump’s defeat in the presidential election.
Many Democrats in the US House claimed to see a relationship.
The No. 2 US House Democrat Katherine Clark said in a statement on Friday that the conference “cannot elect a leader because their conference is held hostage by members who peddle disinformation and wish to demolish democracy.”
The number of rejected votes for a speaker this week—14—was the highest since 1859.
McCarthy’s 2015 attempt to become a speaker failed in the face of the right-wing opposition. John Boehner and Paul Ryan, the two former Republican speakers, resigned from their positions following disagreements with right-wing colleagues.
McCarthy would have the power to advance investigations into Biden, his family, and his administration as well as force votes for Republican goals on the economy, energy, and immigration if he held the speaker’s gavel.